Just a quick summary for now since I'm pretty bitter about how things turned out for me this weekend. The first 135 miles or so went great. I was feeling good, nutrition was spot on, cramps were almost non-existent and we were on pace to pull into the last checkpoint with a two hour buffer. We had just ridden the last 30-45 minutes in a thunderstorm that cooled us off nicely and things were looking great... Until we hit the mud. The next 3-1/2 miles was almost all hike-a-bike through the grass and insanely sticky mud. By the time we got through it we had burned through all of our banked time and rumor was there were a few more sections of mud ahead of us. After sitting around for a bit mulling our options Don and I decided to head out with some other riders. I made it about 30 feet when I head the sickening crunch of my derailleur tearing itself apart. Ultimately, Don went on to finish with a group of around 7-8 other riders while I got on the phone and called Deb to come get me. As I watched them ride away I immediately regretted making the call and not converting my bike to a singlespeed.
That's what I'm most bitter about. Mechanicals happen in gravel racing and you have to be prepared for them, but I basically threw in the towel when I lost my derailleur. The last two days I've been beating myself up for not at least trying to continue on, even though I would have missed the cutoff. This one's gonna sting for a while, but I suppose it needs to. I'll call it future motivation.
On another note, I'm getting pretty sick of derailleur problems so I'm converting this bike to singlespeed for the rest of the summer. I don't have any more gravel races until September, so I've got time to see if it works for me.
That's it for now. I might post more race details later this week, assuming I feel better about it by then. Right now I just want to forget about it for a while.